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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
June 23, 2019
What is justice? A judge opened court with this announcement. “Gentlemen, I have in my hand two checks – a bribe you might call it – one from the defendant for $15,000 and the other from the plaintiff for $10,000. My decision is to return $5,000 to the defendant and try the case strictly on its merits.”
We laugh at that, but justice is important to us. We want to be treated with justice. We do not want the law to be prejudiced or a judgment perverted because of a bribe. And while there are now many that are confused by those who add the word justice to demands for equality of social outcome, that should not confuse us. The Oxford dictionary defines justice as “just behavior or treatment” and “the administration of the law or authority in maintaining this.” Webster includes “the quality of being just, impartial, or fair.” In other words, justice has to do with equal and impartial application of the law and not equal results based on social theories. God will render final justice impartially according to His law.
The justice system of ancient Israel set the pattern upon which our own justice system was laid since much of it was founded upon Biblical ideas and standards. We have since seriously strayed from that foundation with increasingly negative consequences. Our nation and all nations would do well to go back to the Bible in setting the standards for justice. As a background for this morning’s sermon, let me quickly go over some of the more important points about the Jewish system of justice at the time of Jesus’ trial.
The Jewish legal system was an extension of the principles of the Law of Moses. The central passage for this was Deuteronomy 16:18-20 which states, 18“You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 “You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”.
In striving to carry out these commands, a justice system was developed by which any community with at least 120 family units could form a local council called a “sanhedrin.” This is a Greek term that referred to the “place of those who sit together” which then took on the meaning of a council or governing body. In ancient Israel, this was a low court and would be composed of up to 23 men. The Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was made up of 71 men including the High Priest, chief priests, elders and scribes. This group was also called, “the council of the elders,” and “the Senate of the sons of Israel.” The odd number in each of these councils would eliminate any tie votes.
The local council members were chosen because of their maturity and wisdom, and the Great Sanhedrin was to be composed of those who had distinguished themselves in a local council and had served in an apprenticeship capacity within the Great Sanhedrin. By the time of Christ, it had degenerated so that membership mostly came from political or religious favoritism. Both the Herodian dynasty and Rome exerted considerable influence upon it.
The fairness and impartiality required by Mosaic Law was put into rabbinical practice in several ways. The accused was held with a presumed innocence and could not be tried without formal charges. The council could not bring charges itself but only consider charges brought by someone else. The defendant was to be tried in public during the day. A criminal trial could not begin or continue into the night. He could have a defense counsel and bring forth evidence and witnesses on his own behalf. A conviction could only be made upon the testimony of two or more reliable witnesses. These witnesses had to affirm their testimony was true to the best of their knowledge and was based on their own direct experience and not on hearsay or presumption. In addition, they had to be able to recount the precise month, day, hour and location of the event about which they testified. The defendant could not testify against himself, and even if he did, it would be insufficient by itself to bring conviction.
The Mosaic law also greatly discouraged false witnesses with strong penalties. Deuteronomy 19:16-19 required a false witness to receive the punishment the accused would have received if found guilty. If a fine, then the fine. If scourging, then scourging. If the death penalty, then the death penalty. A good justice system will have strong perjury laws to deter lying on the witness stand.
The court was to reflect both the justice and mercy found within the character of God and written in the Mosaic Law. In a 23 member sanhedrin, it only took 11 votes to acquit, but 13 were required to convict. A unanimous decision to convict resulted automatically in acquittal because it would be presumed that the necessary element of mercy was lacking. The decisions of the council members were given from the youngest to the oldest so that the younger members would not be swayed by the older ones. If the defendant was found innocent, he was immediately set free. If the defendant was found guilty, the sentence could not be pronounced until two days later
Additional precautions were taken in cases involving capital punishment. The governing principle was that the “sanhedrin was to save life, not destroy it.” A death sentence could not be carried out until the third day after a judgment with the council members fasting in the intervening day. Such sentences could not be carried out during a feast period when fasting was prohibited. On the third day the council would be reassembled. If any additional evidence or witnesses for the defense were found, they were presented and then each member asked if they had changed their decision. A guilty vote could be changed but a previous vote for acquittal could not. If the guilty sentence was reaffirmed, the prisoner was escorted through the streets to the place of the execution with a herald going before them who would state the following: The name of the prisoner, the charges against him, the names of those who witnessed against him, and that if anyone had evidence to give in favor of the man they were to come forward. If any one did, the whole procession would turn around, the council would reconvene and the new evidence considered. If not, the condemned would be executed after he had been given a stupefying drink to dull his senses so that his death would be less painful. An additional caution was the requirement that the accuser was to initiate the sentence of execution by casting the first stone (Deuteronomy 17:7). This may have been what Jesus referred to when he told those who were accusing the woman caught in adultery that “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
The Jewish justice system was both fair and merciful when it was followed properly. It is against this back drop that we come to religious trial of Jesus. It demonstrates the wonderful character of our Lord as He places His trust completely in the Father even as He goes through a trial that violated nearly every principle of justice. The lesson for us to learn as we watch our Savior in the midst of this is that while we should strive for justice, we do not have to receive it in order for us to carry out God’s will in our lives. In fact, it may be at the very points when we are treated with the greatest injustice that we accomplish the most for the cause of Christ.
In examining all the gospel accounts together we find there are three phases to the religious trial Jesus undergoes. First before Annas, then before Caiaphas, then before the chief priest and elders. The first phase begins in John 18:12-13.
First Phase – Trial before Annas – John 18:12-24
Brought to Annas – John 18:12-14
12 So the [Roman] cohort and the commander, and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, 13 and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.
Remember from our study of the betrayal of Jesus two weeks ago that they were only able to arrest Jesus because He allowed it. When Jesus identified Himself as “I am,” the entire mob fell down. Peter took out his sword and started swinging to defend Jesus, but Jesus told him to put it away because He could call twelve legions of angels if He wanted to be defended. Jesus allowed them to arrest Him, and He would allow the illegal trials He would face next to be held because it was all within the Father’s plan of redemption of mankind.
They first bring Jesus to Annas. Some background information on him will help you understand what is occurring. The Roman procurators made the position of high priest a quasi-political office whom they appointed. Annas was high priest under Quirinius in 6 A.D., but was deposed by Valerus Gratus about 15 A.D. However, though Annus was no longer the actual high priest, he remained the dominant power in the Sanhedrin. His political power is seen in that five of his sons, his son-in-law and his grandson became high priests. During the entire time of Christ’s ministry and for a long time after, Annas was the man largely responsible for the actions of the Sanhedrin. He was also exceedingly wealthy with much of it coming from the sale of sacrificial animals in the court of the Gentiles – a business venture Jesus had driven out from the temple twice and a reason for Annas to have a personal hatred for Jesus.
Regardless of whoever was the actual high priest, Annas was the one to consult with first. John points out that at this time it is Annas’ son-in-law, Caiaphas, who is the high priest. Annas and Caiaphas shared a compound with Annas living on one side and Caiaphas on the other. In between was the courtyard common to the homes of the wealthy. Jesus is first brought to Annas.
Peter’s First Denial – John 18:15-18
Peter had demonstrated his willingness to stand with Jesus and even die if necessary, but now he was at a loss of what to do. Jesus had made him put away his sword and then allowed Himself to be arrested. John 18:15-16 tell us what Peter did next. “And Simon Peter was following Jesus, and [so was] another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought in Peter.”
Peter is hesitant, but he does follow Jesus at a distance. The other disciple mentioned here is John. All the other disciples had run away. We do not know how John was known to the high priest, but because he was known he enters with Jesus into the court of the high priest without any trouble. John then arranges for Peter to be allowed in, but this turns out to be Peter’s downfall.
John 18:17-18, 17The slave-girl therefore who kept the door ^said to Peter, “You are not also [one] of this man’s disciples, are you?” He ^said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the officers were standing [there,] having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
This is Peter’s first denial of Jesus. It is a scary situation for him. This is enemy territory. Jesus is arrested. The other disciples have fled. John is there, but what could they do? The result is even the logical question of the slave-girl who was keeping the door into the compound frightens him and he lies. He should have left then, but instead, his love for Jesus and desire to be near Him compels him to stay. It is cold, and trying to appear like the rest of the people there, he joins a group of slaves and officers by the fire to warm himself. This sets him up for his next denial of Jesus.
Tried by Annas – John 18:19-24
While this is going on with Peter, Jesus is brought before Annas for the first phase of what constitutes an illegal inquiry and trial.
John 18:19-24, 19The high priest therefore questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21 “Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; behold, these know what I said.” 22 And when He had said this, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” 24 Annas therefore sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Both Jesus and Annas knew that what was occurring was illegal. First, Annas had no legal standing to make an inquiry and even more so in acting in the position of both prosecutor and judge. Second, the inquiry was being made in the middle of the night without the Sanhedrin present. Third, they had no witnesses to testify that Jesus had done anything wrong. Our own legal system follows the Jewish system that a person cannot be made to testify against himself. Accusations must be established by the testimony of two or more witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15 cf. Isaiah 29:21).
Jesus points out their need for witnesses which exposes the illegal nature of the questioning. Since Jesus had taught publically, it should be easy to find people to testify about what Jesus had taught. The fact that they did not have any witnesses demonstrated this was a kangaroo court. Neither Annas nor those who had Jesus arrested were interested in justice. They already knew the verdict they wanted, and they would not let proper legal proceedings get in their way.
The political power of Annas is seen in the response of one of the officers to Jesus’ challenge to what Annas was doing. He referred to Annas as the high priest, when in fact he was not. His son-in-law, Caiaphas, was the actual high priest and he was not present as verse 24 points out. In addition, it was an illegal act for the officer to strike Jesus, but what did that matter to the officer as long as it pleased Annas?
Consider Jesus humility in verse 23 in simply challenging the illegal actions being done. If you or I were treated with such injustice as this, I am sure we would react with some anger and maybe even some name calling as Paul does in Acts 23 when almost the exact same thing happened to him. Yet Jesus does not react with anger. He simply appeals to the law itself in the demand for justice which exposes their injustice. Jesus could have done any number of things if he wanted revenge, but Jesus knew the eternal purpose for all that was happening including the abuse He was now receiving. The inquiry was illegal, but Jesus was still in control and each of His actions continued to demonstrate His own righteousness and the evil of those who were seeking His death.
Annas was not able to get Jesus to incriminate Himself, so he sent Jesus bound across the courtyard to Caiaphas. We pick up the story in Matthew 26:57-68 and the parallel accounts in Mark 14:53-65 & Luke 22:54.
Look at Matthew 26:57. “And those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.” Mark 14:53 adds the chief priests to the mix of scribes and elders that had gathered there. They are meeting in contradiction to the established Jewish justice system for this is taking place at night, and as Luke 22:54 specifically states, this is at the house of the high priest instead of a proper place for a legal inquiry to be held.
Matthew, Mark and Luke also point out what we know in detail from John’s account that Peter had followed Jesus and the mob at a distance and had been able to enter into the courtyard of the high priest by the intervention of John. He goes over and joins the slaves and officers that are warming themselves by a fire. Matthew states that Peter “sat down with the officers to see the outcome.” Peter was trying to be brave and fulfill his boast, but he is being reckless to stay there. He had already denied Christ once by telling the slave-girl who kept the door that he was not a disciple of Jesus. And though he is keeping his distance from the actual trial proceedings to avoid being recognized again, he is setting himself for more failure. Since Peter is not the focus of our text this week, I we set aside any further comments about him until next week.
The account of what happens before Caiaphas continues in Matthew 26:59-60, “Now the chief priest and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death; and they did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward.” Mark 14:56 explains how it was easily know the testimony was false, “for many were giving false testimony against Him, and yet their testimony was not consistent.”
Everything about this is illegal. First, the Council (Sanhedrin) was not supposed to meet to try a prisoner in a private place, and second, they were not to hold trial at night. Third, they are soliciting charges against Jesus rather than responding to charges already made. Even with many false witnesses, none of them were credible enough to make any charges which brings up a fourth illegal aspect. They know these are false witnesses because of the inconsistency in them, yet they do not bring any punishment upon these liars as required.
Think about that. Here is a kangaroo court, and by that I mean an unauthorized court that is ignoring proper justice proceedings. Yet even with that, they still cannot find a false witness credible enough to bring charges against Jesus. This is a strong argument for the sinless character of Jesus. Even using men who were willing to perjure themselves by making false testimony, they cannot manufacture a charge that would stand the lax scrutiny of their own corrupt court because it was all so inconsistent! But of course a great problem liars have always had is how to be consistent in what they say. When you tell the truth, that is all you have to remember. When you tell a lie, you have to remember what you said each time you told the story.
How lax was the analysis of this court? The end of Matthew 26:60-61 says, But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” This is the testimony of one of the men while Mark 14:58 records the testimony of the other, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” One reports Jesus said He was able to destroy the temple while the other says that Jesus said He would destroy the temple. Mark 14:59 comments, “And not even in this respect was their testimony consistent.” Their testimony was also very different from what Jesus actually said as recorded in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John continued on to explain that Jesus said this concerning His own body. Jesus did not say that He would or could destroy the Temple. He said if they destroyed the Temple, He would rebuild it in three days.
This was the best Caiaphas was going to get, so he decided to use it. Matthew 26:62, And the high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You make no answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. This was also strictly against their own legal system in trying to get the defendant to be self-incriminating. Jesus remains calm and makes no answer. Jesus has complete trust in His heavenly Father and will wait for His leading and speak only what the Father desires. Jesus is not interested in making His own defense for He leaves that in the hands of the Father. Jesus’ silence is that of innocence, integrity and dignity. He lets His silence magnify the inconsistency of what the two had testified and the travesty of justice that was being perpetrated in His presence. This only makes Caiaphas angry.
Mark’s account has Caiaphas continuing the questioning, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed” (Mark 14:61). Matthew 26:63 shows that Caiaphas becomes adamant saying, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Combining these two accounts, it is probable that he asks Jesus the first time, and when Jesus remained silent, he then used the most sacred oath a Jew could make to demand that Jesus either affirm or deny His messiahship and deity. This was also against their own justice system, but justice is not what they were seeking. They wanted Jesus to make an open claim to deity so that they could charge Him with blasphemy, a charge punishable by death according to Leviticus 24:16, but a claim to deity is only blasphemy if the claim is false.
If the court had not been in such a rush it should have been easy for them to find witnesses that would attest to Jesus’ claim of Messiahship and deity. In John 4 the woman at the well said that she knew Messiah was coming to which Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am He.” The last time Jesus had been in Jerusalem He had told the Jews He was debating with that “Before Abraham was born, I am.” They knew what that meant and had taken up stones to kill Him, but Jesus escaped. Only a few days before Jesus willingly accepted the Messianic shouts of the people, and when the chief priests and scribes had tried to get Jesus to stop the people from saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” Jesus told them that if the people were quiet the rocks would cry it out and that it was from these people that God had prepared praise for Himself. They could have also brought many who had witnessed Jesus’ power over wind and water, over sickness, disease and death, over demons, and the authority to forgive sins. There were plenty of people around to give testimony to Jesus’ claims of messiahship and deity.
Jesus now gives them the clear statement they wanted. Matthew 26:64, Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Jesus tells Caiaphas that He is who he said. He is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus then continues His answer referring to Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 to both back up His claim and to warn them. The term “Son of Man” was a title of the Messiah, and “Power” was a figurative designation of God when used this way. Jesus is telling them that yes, He is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that one day they would see Him glorified with God the Father in heaven and returning to earth as their judge. They were judging Him unjustly, but one day in the future the roles would be reversed and Jesus would be their judge. His just judgment will be based on whether their names were written in the book of life (Revelation 20:12-13), and if not, then according to all their deeds which had been written down.
If Caiaphas had paid any attention to the implications of what Jesus had just said, he should have been quaking in fear. Instead, he puts on an act to portray himself as pious and greatly offended while inwardly he was rejoicing. Matthew 26:65, Then the High Priest tore his robes, saying, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death!”
Actually, Caiaphas still had plenty of need of witnesses. It is not blasphemy to tell the truth, and a defendant could not be justly convicted based on His own testimony alone. But neither Caiaphas nor the rest of the Council cared about truth or justice. Their only concern was to get rid of Jesus, and now they had something they could use even it was all done unjustly and illegally.
Caiaphas tore his robes in pure show. If he really cared so much about God being offended by blasphemy, then he would have also cared about following God law for High Priests. Leviticus 21:10 specifically says that the High Priest should not “tear his clothes.”
Their injustice was bad enough in itself, but in their glee to finally have a ruling against Jesus they began mocking Him. Matthew 26:67- 68, Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, “Prophecy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit you?”
Spitting in another’s face was a supreme insult, but that is the insult they gave to the supreme man. In their anger they struck Him with their fists, and then since Jesus’ claimed to be the Christ, they mocked Him by blindfolding Him and asking Him to prophecy who it was that hit Him. Such is the display of the evil hearts of men. If they had examined the evidence they would have found that Jesus’ claim was true, but they had no interest in justice, only in destroying the one that in justice stood against their teachings and practices.
In the midst of all this we find that Jesus continues to maintain His composure. Why? Because He had prepared Himself in the garden and He was fully ready to suffer at the hands of sinners in order to pay the penalty for sins. This is the great love of God for us.
We should strive hard to establish and carry out justice and correct injustice, but we should not expect justice at the hands of man, for man will always find ways to pervert it even within a system set up to be reflective of God’s justice. Jesus warned His followers to expect the world to hate them because the world hated Him (John 15:18-19). Jesus said that we should expect people to persecute us for our righteousness and to insult us and falsely accuse us because of our relationship with Jesus (Matthew 5:10-11). Yet, we are to rejoice even in that because that is the way the unrighteous have always treated the righteous. That is the way Jesus Himself was treated.
There is only one way we should respond to injustices done to us, and that is to follow the example of Jesus as those being conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). He lived for the Father rather than Himself, and He lived with eternity in view rather than just the present. Therefore He could submit to the Father’s will and was not a victim of circumstances as have so many others that have been severely persecuted because of their faith in Him.
May you be like the Christian in the second century who responded to Pliny, Roman Governor of Asia Minor. Pliny could find little fault with the man expect his faith in Christ. Pliny threatened him, “I will banish you.” The man replied, “You cannot for all the world is my Father’s house.” Pliny said, “Then I will slay you.” The Christian replied, “You cannot for my life is hid with Christ in God.” Pliny declared, “I will take away your possessions.” He responded, “You cannot for my treasure is in heaven.” Pliny announced, “I will drive you away from man and you shall have no friend left.” The fellow responded, “You cannot for I have an unseen Friend from whom you are not able to separate me.”
Injustice can separate you from many things, but it cannot separate the believer from the Lord Jesus Christ. If it or any other form of hardship or persecution can, you believe in the wrong Jesus.
Justice is equal and ______________ application of the law (and not equal results based on social theories)
The justice system of ancient Israel was based on the commands and principles in the _________________
Local “sanhedrin” of 23 and a national sanhedrin of 71 were formed to ______________ justice
Many practices developed to ensure _______________ and impartiality as required by Mosaic Law
False witnesses would suffer the ________________ that would have been given to the falsely accused
The court sought to be both just and _______________ in reflection of the character of God
Additional precautions were taken in cases that could result in ___________ punishment
Jesus’ character shines as He _______the injustice of the religious leaders that did not follow Jewish justice
First Phase – Trial before Annas – John 18:12-24
Brought to Annas – John 18:12-14
Jesus was arrested only because He ______________ it – He was in control even when being tried
The position of ________________ had become quasi-political with Annas in the position from AD 6-15
Annas remained the dominant _____even after he was deposed, and very wealthy from the temple sacrifices
Regardless of who was high priest, Annas was the ___________ to be consulted, and Jesus is brought to him
Peter’s First Denial – John 18:15-18
Peter follows at a ___________ and gains access to Annas’ courtyard through John’s intervention
Peter is questioned by the slave-girl doorkeeper and he makes his first __________ of knowing Jesus
Tried by Annas – John 18:19-24
The trial is illegal: 1) Annas has no legal standing. 2) It is ______. 3) A person cannot testify against himself
Jesus properly points out the need for _______________ and is unjustly struck by an officer
Annas’ political power is seen in being called the high priest when in fact that title belonged to __________
Jesus remains ___________despite the illegal actions and treatment for He trusted God to carry out His will
They are meeting at night at a private home in ________________ to the established Jewish justice system
After already denying Jesus once, Peter _______________have stayed to see the outcome & fulfill his boast
This was an illegal trial on every count. 1) It was at a ____________ home. 2) It was at night.
3) They were ___________accusations. 4) They received testimony from witnesses demonstrated to be false
Even with false witnesses, they could not find credible charges against Jesus – ___________of being sinless
Two men accuse Jesus in regard to destroying the temple, but they were even wrong & ____________in this
Caiaphas ______________ strives to get Jesus to witness against Himself
There were ___________witnesses to Jesus’ claims and demonstration to be the Christ, the Son of God
Caiaphas should have been fearful at what Jesus said, instead he _____offense accusing Jesus of blasphemy
The charge was illegal: 1) Jesus’ claim is true. 2) A defendant could not be convicted on his _____testimony
Caiaphas tore his robes and broke the _________________ in Leviticus 21:10 not to do so
The injustice of the trial was made worse by the ____________that followed that displayed their evil hearts
Jesus maintained His composure because He had already prepared Himself for this in the _____________
Strive for justice, but don’t expect it at the hands of _____- follow Jesus’ example in responding to injustice
Injustice can separate you from many things, but it cannot separate the _________from the Lord Jesus Christ
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “justice” is used. 2) Talk with your parents about the nature of justice and how to respond when you are treated unjustly.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Define justice? Why is the current quest for “social justice” actually unjust? What was the basis for the Jewish justice system? What was the basis for the American justice system? How has the American system changed? What is a “sanhedrin?” What are some of the ways the Jewish justice system sought to be fair and impartial? What are some of the elements from that system that became part of our own system? What punishment(s) did the Mosaic Law require of false witnesses? How was the Jewish justice system tempered with mercy? What were some of the additional requirements for a capital offense case? Who was Annas and why was Jesus brought to him first? What are some of the evidences for Annas’ extensive political power? Why did Peter follow Jesus “at a distance,” and how was he able to get into the courtyard of the high priest? Why did Peter deny being one of Jesus’ disciples? Why did he choose to stay instead of fleeing then? List out as many of the illegal aspects to Annas’ question of Jesus as you can? Why didn’t Jesus respond in anger as Paul did (Acts 23) when he was struck by an officer during the questioning? Why was the meeting at Caiaphas’ house illegal? Why was it reckless for Peter to remain in the courtyard to see the outcome of Jesus’ trial? List out as many of the illegal aspects to Caiaphas’ trial of Jesus as you can? What was the inconsistency of the two recorded witnesses against Jesus? What did Jesus actually say in reference to the destruction of the temple? Jesus had remained silent until Caiaphas adjured Him – why did He speak then? What is the significance of Him quoting from Psalm 110:11 and Daniel 7:13? Why was it illegal for Caiaphas to pronounce Jesus to be a blasphemer? Why was Jesus able to remain calm in the midst of such injustice?
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